Earth Day: Plarn


In the spirit of Earth Day I am going to share with you how to make plarn, yarn made out of plastic shopping bags. Plastic shopping bags end up floating in the ocean and lakes of the world and help fill the landfills of the country. Something we can do to reduce out carbon foot print is to reuse things that would normally be throw away. Reduce Reuse Recycle!

Step 1: Neatly stretch out a plastic bag making sure to fold in the sides the way they are made to be.


Step 2: Fold the bag in half long ways twice.


Step 3: Cut off the top and bottom of the bag.


Step 4: Cut the bag into 1″ – 2″ strips.


Now you have circular strips.


Step 5: Connect the strips by inserting one strip into another.

Put one end of a strip into the loop at the other end

And pull tightly, but not too tightly or the plastic might pull apart.

Not you have a doubled strand of plarn!



T-shirt Yarn

I have been wanting to work with t-shirt yarn for a while but I just haven’t seem to be able to get to it for whatever excuse of the day happens to be. Well, I will put it off no longer. Here are the instructions for making t-shirt yarn. Luckily I have a husband with a love of t-shirts and he wears the same color most of the time. He also likes to buy Hane’s black pocket t’s in packs of eight which unfortunately shrink over time. This means that they are eventually cast aside and they end up in my scrap pile for later projects.

Things you will need to make t-shirt yarn:

Scissors, fabric cutting wheel, X-Acto knife capable of cutting fabric, or something similar that will cut the t-shirt fabric.

T-shirts, enough to make whatever your project and preferably cotton or mostly cotton because it stretches easier.


Here is the t-shirt laid out. Try to get it as flat as you can and not all folded and uneven. If it is not flat enough it will not cut as evenly.


Fold the t-shirt in half. It doesn’t matter if it is folded with the front facing out or the back. Just fold it in half with the sleeves together.


Next you will start by cutting off the hem of the shirt. Then start cutting it into strips that are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide leaving about two inches or so uncut in the middle. When you reach the arm pit of the shirt go ahead and cut all the way across to cut off the top completely.

tshirt yarn cut 1

After cutting all the way up the shirt pull it apart and lay it over your arm or a piece of card board, just something that will allow you to cut the strips. Start by cutting at one end diagonally from the edge to the first cut. Then cut from the next bottom slit to the next top slit diagonally. Continue in this manner using the picture above as a guide; cut where the dotted lines are.


tshirt yarn cut 2

Next you will flip the shirt over to the other side and cut straight lines from one slit to the next.



This is what your t-shirt yarn will look like. Depending on what you are making you might want to leave it in this state but I am not going to leave it like this. Holding one end of the yarn, pull a section taught and allow it to curl in on itself. Move down to another section and pull it taught again. Keep going until you reach the end. You can actually go over it again to make sure it is even, I did.




This is what the finished product will look like. See how it is thinner and there actually looks like there is more there because with it stretched out it is lengthened a little.

I’m not sure quite yet what I am going to make so I will cut up quite a few more t-shirts to make sure I have enough. I unfortunately don’t have a lot of color variety. A good way to get some variety is to hit up some thrift stores or garage sales and get some of those bright t-shirts with ugly designs printed on them that nobody wants. You don’t need the design, just the colors…oh the possibilities!